Laura

Ugandan Mountains of The Moon Special Reserve Coffee

 

 

Uganda Coffee Beans

We’re over the moon with our latest Special Reserve coffee! This one, a natural process treasure from Uganda, has a fittingly royal back story. In 2011, our chief coffee buyer Lindsey Bolger went to Uganda in search of new sources for the fine, washed Arabica coffee that east Africa is famous for. While cupping with a local supplier in Kampala, her spoon kept drifting to a particular coffee sample that was set apart from the others. It turned out to be a natural process coffee from the Rwenzururu Kingdom of western Uganda. (With natural processing, the coffee cherries are spread out in the sun and turned regularly to ensure even drying. Coffee processed this way tends to be fruity and heavy-bodied, because the fruit is left on the bean longer.)

Ugandan Mountains Of THe Moon Coffee Beans

Lindsey quickly scheduled a return trip, and was connected with Queen Agnes Ithungu of the Rwenzururu Kingdom. After a quick course in royal protocol (bow your head, never turn your back on the queen, etc.) Lindsey and Queen Agnes took off to explore the communities of the Kingdom that were producing this extraordinary coffee. This unique Special Reserve coffee has flavors of plump, juicy fruits and hints of sweet caramel and vanilla. We call it Mountains of the Moon because that is the nickname of the Rwenzori mountain range, which is permanently snowcapped Learn more about this incredible coffee, fit for a queen. 

 

 

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Let’s Savor the Cup

Cupping coffees is one of the most unique aspects of our craft. When we “cup” coffees, we formally evaluate their qualities using very precise sensory criteria. But cupping is not just the realm of coffee experts. You can use some of the same techniques when judging your morning brew. Here’s how:

    Single Coffee Cup
  1. Breathe deep. If you have a bagged coffee, smell the ground coffee before it’s brewed. The fragrance speaks volumes about the coffee’s origin and the care of its processing.
  2. Brew. Breathe deep again. The aroma of brewed coffee also varies dramatically from origin to origin. Coffee can be: woodsy, earthy, citrusy, fruity, smoky, or nutty.
  3. Take a sip. Is it bright? This pleasing tang on the tongue is acidity. (Remember: Acidity does not refer to the PH level of the coffee.)
  4. Take another sip. Is the coffee earthy, nutty, fruity, toasty? There is huge diversity in the flavor of coffee from region to region, or even within a specific region. Try a few different blends or regions and see for yourself!
  5. And another sip. How does the coffee feel? What is its weight or texture? Full-bodied coffees may be buttery or even syrupy. Light-bodied coffees are more tea-like.
  6. Now you’re really starting to enjoy the coffee. How does each sip finish? The sensations that remain in the mouth when the coffee is gone are the finish, or aftertaste. Some coffees impart a sweet, lingering finish; others are more direct, even abrupt.

Before you know it, a full cup has elapsed, and you’ve been immersed in the wonderful wealth of sensoral information held within a single cup. Think about that coffee’s balance, how all of its individual flavors and taste sensations come together. Great coffees are balanced – great coffees have a whole composition that is greater than the sum of its parts.

So go ahead – savor your cup of coffee.  We’ll be right there with you.

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Fair Trade Organic Special Reserve: La Prosperidad Peru

As copywriter for Green Mountain Coffee, one of my favorite assignments is writing the stories behind our Special Reserve coffees. These coffees are extremely rare and in very limited supply, so any time I get to write about them (and taste them!), it’s a special treat.

This month’s Special Reserve is also notable because it’s organic and Fair Trade Certified™. “La Prosperidad” is the combination of two microlots from the Cajamarca region in the northern highlands of Peru. It has lush, juicy fruit notes of apricot, lemon, cherry, and grapefruit. After a seductive, delicate aroma, the flavor leans toward buttery caramel and cocoa. Delicious!

The back story of this coffee is very down to earth — literally. In 2008, members of the Chirinos Prosperity Cooperative told us “tired soil” was one of their biggest problems, so we helped fund a certified organic compositing facility. Since then, production has almost doubled, new coffee plants are flowering earlier, and the plants are more resistant to disease. There’s also a noticeable difference in the cup — citrus notes are brighter, and the sweetness is more pronounced.

We’re pleased that an investment at ground level can have such wonderful, delicious results!  This limited batch roasts on October 18th!


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Limited Edition: Special Reserve La Unión Mexico

While La Unión has all the distinctive characteristics that merit its inclusion in our line of Special Reserve coffees, it differs from the other coffees in one important way: it is not obscure, nor recently discovered on a remote hillside of some exotic land. La Unión is an extraordinary offering from one of our oldest friends.

We have been working with members of the Unión Regional de Pequenos Productores de Café cooperative for nearly 20 years. Originally, beans from this cooperative were used as a neutral base for our flavored coffees. As our relationship deepened with these farmers, they became more successful at coaxing out the unique qualities of their beans. Years of sharing knowledge and exchanging visits resulted in higher-quality coffee.

Now the cooperative has taken quality control to a new level, and their commitment is astoundingly evident in this year’s crop. A singular focus on training, cupping, and grading has resulted in a coffee that amplifies the best of a cup that was already deliciously satisfying. Bright citrus notes are now intensified. The warm tones and round body are now velvety smooth. It’s like listening to your favorite tune performed by a world-class symphony orchestra in an acoustically flawless concert hall.  To top it all off, this coffee is Fair Trade Certified™ and organic, two certifications that have enabled the cooperative to establish education facilities and health care centers for several villages.

As with all of our Special Reserves, supply is limited, as we only roast one batch.  This coffee will roast on June 30, 2011, so pick up your bag of Special Reserve La Unión Mexico today – or join the tour to be shipped our latest Reserve fresh from the roaster.

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Spring Revival™ Blend: A story of Rwandan survival and revival

I was thrilled when I went to our Factory Outlet this morning and saw Spring Revival™ Blend as one of the featured coffees. This coffee has sweet aromas, balanced flavors, and a compelling story of hope behind it.

The floral top notes of this Fair Trade Certified™ blend come from Rwanda, a country still recovering from a brutal civil war. I had the honor of traveling to Rwanda with our chief coffee buyer, Lindsey Bolger, a few years back and it was a life-changing experience. I saw how our business, and the relationships we have with producers, are making a difference to people who survived unimaginable horrors. When you choose Spring Revival Blend, you join us in supporting Rwanda’s economic revival, and the small farmers who are recovering by producing extraordinary beans.

Our connection to Rwandan coffee began in 2002, when we hosted a group of Rwandan farmers and industry leaders in Waterbury, Vermont. They toured our roasting facility, participated in a cupping, and explored ways to connect with U.S. consumers.

Our chief coffee buyer, Lindsey, then made the first of six trips to Rwanda to train farmers in cupping and sensory evaluation. She helped them detect defects and understand the quality expectations of the demanding specialty coffee market. In 2008, Lindsey’s protégées were asked to be judges for Africa’s first Cup of Excellence® coffee competition. Their participation was a dramatic illustration of Rwanda’s meteoric rise on the international coffee scene.

Today, Rwanda is one of the hottest origins in specialty coffee, with a well-deserved reputation for high-quality beans. Fair Trade prices, and the training offered by industry experts like Lindsey, are allowing farmers to make a living off their small plots of land.

We are proud to work with the Clinton Global Initiative, TransFair USA, the Cordes Foundation, and the hardworking, small farmers of Rwanda to bring you Fair Trade Certified Spring Revival Blend.

Spring Revival Blend offers a fresh flavor profile evocative of spring, bursting with aromatic floral and dark chocolate notes. Kenneth Davids, editor of the independent Coffee Review, awarded Spring Revival Blend an outstanding score of 90 on a 100-point scale. The coffee is available in 10-ounce bags, 2.2 ounce fractional packages, and K-Cup® portion packs for Keurig® Single-Cup Brewers through June 4, 2010 at participating retailers and at http://www.greenmountaincoffee.com/.

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Nell Newman’s Trip to Source

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 29: True or False: All Newman’s Own Organics coffees are Fair Trade?


Answer: True


Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet? Well, why not? The answer’s right there! If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees. Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php.


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz.

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When we first started sourcing and roasting coffee for Newman’s Own Organics, we took Nell Newman down to Guatemala to meet some of the farmers who grow organic, Fair Trade Certified™ coffee.

Nell is President of Newman’s Own Organics and the daughter of the late Paul Newman.  Like many people on their first trip to source, she was struck by how labor intensive coffee farming is.  Her trip to the La Voz Cooperative would make a lasting impression on her.


nell_with_girl


Nell Newman (left) and Lindsey Bolger (right) with Guatemalan girl [Photo: Bill Kinzie, 2much Media]

“I think it’ll really make me think a lot more about every single cup of coffee that I have,” she said.  “I don’t think about every little bean that goes into that cup of coffee that I drink, but it really gives you a very different perspective when you hike up to 5300 feet and see people carrying down your coffee.”

Nell was also impressed by the medical support, education, and better quality of life that farmers enjoyed because of Fair Trade.  See more about Nell’s trip and hear her thoughts in this brief video.

Green Mountain Coffee is proud to source and roast seven varieties of organic, Fair Trade Certified™ coffee for Newman’s Own Organics.

-Laura

Comments

The Birthplace of Coffee: Ethiopia

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 28: How many coffee roasters and importers are licensed to sell Fair Trade Certified coffee in the US as of 2008?


Answer: 401-500 (460)



Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet? Well, why not? The answer’s right there! If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees. Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php.


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz.

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Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony



“Where there is coffee, may there be peace and prosperity.” —Traditional Ethiopian blessing


Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee because botanical evidence suggests coffee first grew wild in Ethiopia’s fertile highlands. Perhaps this is why coffee is an integral part of Ethiopian daily life—more so than in any other coffee-producing country.

Ethiopians use an elaborate coffee ceremony to welcome guests and show friendship or respect. The ceremony, which can last a few hours, involves three cups for each guest. After the third cup is consumed, Ethiopians believe a blessing is bestowed and one’s spirit is transformed.

Lindsey cupping with members of the Ethiopian coop

Beans for our Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe come from the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, the largest Fair Trade coffee producer in Ethiopia. In a country where most people live on a dollar a day, Fair Trade provides a steady source of income and hope for a better future. With the extra revenue generated by Fair Trade, farmers in this cooperative have been able to buy new washing stations and set up a repair fund. Investments like these allow the coop to continue producing an elegantly sweet coffee with orange blossom fragrance and vibrant lemony tones. Independent coffee critic Kenneth Davids gave our Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe high praise and an outstanding score of 93 points. Discover why Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is the choice of coffee connoisseurs around the world.

Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe “This coffee declares its essential Yirgacheffe character immediately: perfumy and pungently menthol-toned in the aroma, shimmering with floral and lemon notes.” Kenneth Davids, CoffeeReview.com, Score:93, March 2008

-Laura

Comments

Fair Trade Builds Long-lasting Relationships

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 21: With which coffee co-op does GMCR have the longest ongoing relationship?


Answer: Huatusco (Mexico)



Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet? Well, why not? The answer’s right there! If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees. Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php.


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz.

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We have been working with members of the Unión Regional de Pequeños Productores de Café cooperative in Huatusco, Mexico since 1996.


Rogelio Jacome with Patty Vincent


Rogelio Jacome participates in a "cupping" with Patty Vincent, Coffee Product Manager, at our lab in Waterbury, Vermont.

Throughout the years, we’ve been able to create a common language to talk about quality.  We’ve exchanged visits several times to discuss the particular taste characteristics we are seeking, and spent hours together in “cupping” sessions. Huatusco producers are now so attuned to our quality needs, they have a specific “Green Mountain Prep” they use on the beans they sell to us.

We’ve also supported the co-op’s efforts to become organic-certified, helped pay for improvements to their wet-mill, and provided credit to help them through the harvest season. The increased revenue that Fair Trade and organic coffee provides has enabled the farmers to establish education facilities in rural areas, and build regional healthcare centers for several villages.


Miguel Garcia Suarez with a bag of his coffeeMiguel Garcia Suarez with a bag of his coffee

“Our work with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has been fruitful and profitable,” said co-op manager Rogelio Jacome. “They’ve helped us with health programs and student scholarships. The cupper’s training has been a big help, especially in terms of quality control. We truly believe that this relationship keeps getting stronger.”

-Laura

Comments

Hope for the Future in Fair Trade

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 15: How many Fair Trade Certified™ varieties of coffee does Green Mountain Coffee sell?


Answer: 41


 


Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet?  Well, why not?  The answer’s right there!  If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees.  Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php


 


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz. 


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With 41 delicious Fair Trade coffees, is it any surprise that we have a story for each of them? Allow me to introduce you to the origins of one our Fair Trade Single Origin coffees: Sumatra Lake Tawar. 

Fauziah, 30-year-old Sumatran coffee farmerIndonesian coffees are prized for their complexity. The unusual processing techniques used by the farmers create a distinctive coffee experience; a mosaic of heady aromas and pungent flavors that tumbles around in the mouth.

We began working with farmers from the areas near Lake Tawar in 1997, when we provided start up money to create an organic coffee cooperative.  Since then, we’ve helped the cooperative build a community center, a water supply system, and a seedling nursery. In the wake of the 2004 tsunami-earthquake, many of our employees donated money for disaster relief, and the company matched their donations.

Today, the cooperative is thriving. With the premium received from Fair Trade prices, the community has been able to build new roads, schools, and a clean water supply.

Lindsey Bolger, our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships, recently visited the Lake Tawar region to meet with farmers who contribute to our Fair Trade Certified™ Sumatran coffees. She was introduced to Fauziah, a 30-year-old farmer who was looking forward to a brighter future.

“Now that we’ve joined a Fair Trade Certified co-op,” she told Lindsey, “we know that there will be funds available to help us improve quality and yields.”

Single Origin Sumatran Lake Tawar has a syrupy body with notes of clove and cardamom. Independent coffee critic Kenneth Davids gave it 85 points in August 2009.

-Laura

Comments

Meet Chajulense Cooperative, Guatemala

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 9: How many Fair Trade co-ops work with Green Mountain Coffee?


Answer: 88


 


Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet?  Well, why not?  The answer’s right there!  If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees.  Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz. 

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Time to highlight another of our Fair Trade cooperatives, Chajulense cooperative in Guatemala.

In the rural highlands of Guatemala, you can tell where a woman lives by the patterns on her huipil, or traditional blouse.  The beautifully woven and embroidered motifs are unique to each community.  In a similar way, astute coffee lovers can discern a Guatemalan bean’s geographic provenance by the distinctive flavor and aroma patterns imparted by the soil, altitude, and rainfall of its environment.

escojedora

Guatemala boasts eight distinct coffee-growing regions, each with its own personality and expression in the cup.  We source Guatemalan beans from coops in several regions, including Association Chajulense Val Vaq Quyol near the Chuchumatanes mountains of Chajul.  The name of this Fair Trade co-op means “only one voice,” and the co-op’s main goal is to improve the quality of life for its members while maintaining their traditions, values, and cultures. It is the largest organic coffee cooperative in Guatemala.

We’ve been working with Chajulense during the past three harvest cycles and are delighted by what we’ve tasted on the cupping table. On a recent trip to Guatemala, our chief coffee buyer, Lindsey Bolger, teamed up at the cupping table with cooperative President Arcadio Daniel Galindo and head cupper Arsemio Rivera Molina to identify beans that best displayed the unique qualities of coffee grown in regions around Chajul.  The cooperative’s prized Caturra and Bourbon varietals displayed shimmers of high-toned fruit, a vibrant acidity, and a resonant depth.

Fair Trade means the cooperative will receive a fair price for these excellent beans, and more. “Searching for a fairer market means not only that we will get better prices,” they write on their website, “but also that we are committed to work towards justice, freedom, and life for all men and women, so that we can live in justice among us and justice with our Mother Earth because only then we will achieve peace and happiness.”

Fair Trade Certified™ beans from the Chajulense cooperative are often used in Fair Trade Organic French Roast, Fair Trade Organic House Blend, and Heifer Hope Blend.

-Laura

Comments

Make it Fair Trade – and so, it was.

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 5: How do you know a food product is Fair Trade?


Answer: Look for the Fair Trade Certified label.


 


Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet?  Well, why not?  The answer’s right there!  If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees.  Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz.

 

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 Fair Trade Certified Logo


 


It’s amazing what a Fair Trade Certified Label can do when combined with a favorite coffee – especially when that coffee’s in a K-Cup®.  In 2008, we converted one of our most popular K-Cups® from conventional Colombian coffee to Colombian Fair Trade Select.  Still the Colombian vibrancy that our customers have come to expect, but with a Fair Trade moniker to help spread the word and help Colombian farmers.        


 Joel in Colombia


  Joel White of Green Mountain Coffee rides in a chiva, an artisan-modified bus used in rural Colombia. 


 


Joel White, a marketing director at Green Mountain Coffee, recently visited the co-ops where we source our Fair Trade Colombian coffee.  His week-long adventure included high-mountain Jeep trips to several small, remote coffee farms and cooperatives, including CENCOIC in the southwest department of Cauca.


 


Colombian Women Weaving


 


In Colombia, members of the Guambino community are well-known for their weaving skills.


 


CENCOIC was founded to represent indigenous communities in the Cauca region, including the Guambianos of the central mountain range.  Guambianos are skilled weavers and are easily identified by their colorful textiles and narrow-brimmed, felt hats.  They have managed to preserve their distinct culture, retaining their traditional language, dress, and farming techniques.


 


“It was a great experience to be with people so committed to getting us great coffee,” Joel said when he returned.  “It’s given me a whole new perspective on my morning cup.”


 


- Laura

Comments

Fair Trade Principle: Fair Price to the Farmers

Fair Trade Month Quiz:


Question 3: Name two key principles of Fair Trade


Answer: Fair prices, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic & transparent organizations, community development, environmental sustainability


 


Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet?  Well, why not?  The answer’s right there!  If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees.  Go here to enter: http://www.eatdrinkandbefair.com/quiz.php


*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz.  

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One of the many things we love about Fair Trade is the direct interaction with our Fair Trade producers.  Take the Kenyan Highland Cooperatives, for example.  While Kenyan coffee has long been one of the most sought-after origins in the world, the benefits of Kenya’s traditional auction system do not always trickle down to the country’s thousands of small farmers. The best lots are sold to the highest bidder, and it’s often unclear how much of the price gets back to the farmers. 


  Lindsey Bolger with chairman of the Rumukia Coffee Cooperative Society in Kenya.



Coffee buyer Lindsey Bolger discusses quality with the chairman of the Rumukia Coffee Cooperative Society in Kenya.

Our Single Origin Kenyan Highland Cooperatives, however, is sourced from Fair Trade Certified™ cooperatives, which means we can trace our purchase price back to the people who grew these exceptional beans.  Fair Trade makes it so every interaction is as interpersonal as possible, allowing for new opportunities to (pardon the pun) brew better relationships at every interval. 

-Laura

Comments

Save the chimps. Drink great coffee.

Our founder, Bob Stiller, received a Corporate Social Responsibility award from Dr. Jane Goodall in Washington, D.C. recently. We worked with the Jane Goodall Institute to develop Tanzanian Gombe Reserve, a coffee that helps protect chimp habitat. When Dr. Goodall visited us in Vermont to say thanks, she recieved TWO standing ovations from our employees and gave an inspiring speech about what we all can do to make a difference. The highlight for many, 'though, was her introduction. She started off by giving a dead-on impression of a chimp greeting. Hoot hoo hoooooooooowah! She's an amazing woman.
Comments

Fair Trade Provides Hope for the Future

Indonesian coffees are prized for their complexity. The unusual processing techniques used by the farmers create a distinctive coffee experience; a mosaic of heady aromas and pungent flavors that tumbles around in the mouth.

We began working with farmers from the areas near Lake Tawar in 1997, when we provided start up money to create an organic coffee cooperative.  Since then, we've helped the cooperative build a community center, a water supply system, and a seedling nursery. In the wake of the 2004 tsunami-earthquake, many of our employees donated money for disaster relief, and the company matched their donations.

Today, the cooperative is thriving. With the premium received from Fair Trade prices, the community has been able to build new roads, schools, and a clean water supply.

Lindsey Bolger, our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships, recently visited the Lake Tawar region to meet with farmers who contribute to our Fair Trade Certified™ Sumatran coffees. She was introduced to Fauziah, a 30-year-old farmer who was looking forward to a brighter future.

"Now that we've joined a Fair Trade Certified co-op," she told Lindsey, "we know that there will be funds available to help us improve quality and yields."

Single Origin Sumatran Lake Tawar has a syrupy body with notes of clove and cardamom. Independent coffee critic Kenneth Davids gave it 89 points in October, 2007.

Comments

Nell Newman Reflects On Her Trip To Source

When we first started sourcing and roasting coffee for Newman’s Own Organics, we took Nell Newman down to Guatemala to meet some of the farmers who grow organic, Fair Trade Certified™ coffee.

Nell is President of Newman’s Own Organics and the daughter of the late Paul Newman.  Like many people on their first trip to source, she was struck by how labor intensive coffee farming is.  Her trip to the La Voz Cooperative would make a lasting impression on her.


Photo: Bill Kinzie, 2much Media


Nell Newman (left) and Lindsey Bolger (right) with Guatemalan girl

“I think it’ll really make me think a lot more about every single cup of coffee that I have,” she said.  “I don’t think about every little bean that goes into that cup of coffee that I drink, but it really gives you a very different perspective when you hike up to 5300 feet and see people carrying down your coffee.”

Nell was also impressed by the medical support, education, and better quality of life that farmers enjoyed because of Fair Trade.  See more about Nell’s trip and hear her thoughts in this brief video.

Nell Newman with Fair Trade organic coffee farmers

Green Mountain Coffee is proud to source and roast seven varieties of organic, Fair Trade Certified™ coffee for Newman’s Own Organics.

Comments

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Top-Scored Coffee

"Where there is coffee, may there be peace and prosperity." ---Traditional Ethiopian blessing

The coffee ceremony is an important part of Ethiopian culture.

Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee because botanical evidence suggests coffee first grew wild in Ethiopia's fertile highlands. Perhaps this is why coffee is an integral part of Ethiopian daily life—more so than in any other coffee-producing country. Ethiopians use an elaborate coffee ceremony to welcome guests and show friendship or respect. The ceremony, which can last a few hours, involves three cups for each guest. After the third cup is consumed, Ethiopians believe a blessing is bestowed and one's spirit is transformed. Beans for our Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe come from the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, the largest Fair Trade coffee producer in Ethiopia. In a country where most people live on a dollar a day, Fair Trade provides a steady source of income and hope for a better future. With the extra revenue generated by Fair Trade, farmers in this cooperative have been able to buy new washing stations and set up a repair fund. Investments like these allow the coop to continue producing an elegantly sweet coffee with orange blossom fragrance and vibrant lemony tones. Independent coffee critic Kenneth Davids gave our Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe high praise and an outstanding score of 93 points. Discover why Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is the choice of coffee connoisseurs around the world.

Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe “This coffee declares its essential Yirgacheffe character immediately: perfumy and pungently menthol-toned in the aroma, shimmering with floral and lemon notes.” Kenneth Davids, CoffeeReview.com, Score:93, March 2008

Lindsey Bolger participates in a coffee "cupping" in Ethiopia

Comments

Fair Trade leads to long-term relationships

We have been working with members of the Unión Regional de Pequeños Productores de Café cooperative in Huatusco since 1996.

Rogelio Jacome participates in a "cupping" with Patty Vincent, Coffee Product Manager, at our lab in Waterbury, Vermont.

Throughout the years, we've been able to create a common language to talk about quality.  We've exchanged visits several times to discuss the particular taste characteristics we are seeking, and spent hours together in "cupping" sessions. Huatusco producers are now so attuned to our quality needs, they have a specific "Green Mountain Prep" they use on the beans they sell to us.

We've also supported the co-op's efforts to become organic-certified, helped pay for improvements to their wet-mill, and provided credit to help them through the harvest season. The increased revenue that Fair Trade and organic coffee provides has enabled the farmers to establish education facilities in rural areas, and build regional healthcare centers for several villages.

"Our work with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has been fruitful and profitable," said co-op manager Rogelio Jacome. "They've helped us with health programs and student scholarships. The cupper's training has been a big help, especially in terms of quality control. We truly believe that this relationship keeps getting stronger."

Miguel Garcia Suarez with a bag of his coffee.

Our Fair Trade Mexican Decaf Huatusco Cooperative offers brisk, lime-citrus acidity, and sweet notes of sugar cane and agave nectar. Its finish is engaging, vanilla-toned and sparkling clean.

Comments

Fair Trade Helps Preserve Native Cultures

In the rural highlands of Guatemala, you can tell where a woman lives by the patterns on her huipil, or traditional blouse.  The beautifully woven and embroidered motifs are unique to each community.  In a similar way, astute coffee lovers can discern a Guatemalan bean’s geographic provenance by the distinctive flavor and aroma patterns imparted by the soil, altitude, and rainfall of its environment.

Guatemala boasts eight distinct coffee-growing regions, each with its own personality and expression in the cup.  We source Guatemalan beans from coops in several regions, including Association Chajulense Val Vaq Quyol near the Chuchumatanes mountains of Chajul.  The name of this Fair Trade co-op means “only one voice,” and the co-op’s main goal is to improve the quality of life for its members while maintaining their traditions, values, and cultures. It is the largest organic coffee cooperative in Guatemala.

We’ve been working with Chajulense during the past three harvest cycles and are delighted by what we’ve tasted on the cupping table. On a recent trip to Guatemala, our chief coffee buyer, Lindsey Bolger, teamed up at the cupping table with cooperative President Arcadio Daniel Galindo and head cupper Arsemio Rivera Molina to identify beans that best displayed the unique qualities of coffee grown in regions around Chajul.  The cooperative’s prized Caturra and Bourbon varietals displayed shimmers of high-toned fruit, a vibrant acidity, and a resonant depth.

Fair Trade means the cooperative will receive a fair price for these excellent beans, and more. “Searching for a fairer market means not only that we will get better prices,” they write on their website, “but also that we are committed to work towards justice, freedom, and life for all men and women, so that we can live in justice among us and justice with our Mother Earth because only then we will achieve peace and happiness.”

Fair Trade Certified™ beans from the Chajulense cooperative are often used in Fair Trade Organic French Roast, Fair Trade Organic House Blend, and Heifer Hope Blend.

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Getting a fair price back to farmers

While Kenyan coffee has long been one of the most sought-after origins in the world, the benefits of Kenya’s traditional auction system do not always trickle down to the country's thousands of small farmers. The best lots are sold to the highest bidder, and it's often unclear how much of the price gets back to the farmers.  Our Single Origin Kenyan Highland Cooperatives is sourced from Fair Trade Certified™ cooperatives, which means we can trace our purchase price back to the people who grew these exceptional beans.

Coffee buyer Lindsey Bolger discusses quality with the chairman of the Rumukia Coffee Cooperative Society in Kenya.

The Rumukia Coffee Cooperative Society is one of those Fair Trade cooperatives.  Situated in the rich, red volcanic foothills of Mt. Kenya, the region enjoys a unique microclimate: a temperate zone with regular, seasonal rainfall.  Rumukia's coffee displays classic Kenyan attributes: winey, fruity flavors and a distinctive, crisp acidity.

Independent coffee critic Kenneth Davids called Single Origin Kenyan Highlands Cooperatives “a crisp, authoritative Kenya with Fair-Trade credentials” and gave it an outstanding score of 93.

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Fair Trade: Making a difference in the heart of an Incan empire

Concepcion TunquiConcepcion Tunqui's day begins at 3 am. She gathers firewood to cook her breakfast, then joins other members of her coffee cooperative on their organic farm in the southern highlands of Peru. Around 11, she'll stop to cook a communal meal for the workers. She'll clean up, then return to her chacra (land parcel) to hand pick the reddest, ripest coffee cherries until the sun sinks behind the towering Andean peaks that surround her. She is 57 years old, and she has done this all her life.

Until recently, Concepcion barely made enough money to get by. Fair Trade has changed that. With Fair Trade, these farmers are guaranteed a fair price for their harvest. Now they can afford to eat chicken on occasion, visit a doctor when they're sick, and keep their kids in school. Fair Trade premiums have also allowed them to improve their drying patios, and the overall quality of their coffee.

"We only live off coffee," Concepcion says in her native Quechua language. "This year has been the first year of change. My farm has improved, and my house has improved."Matilde

Nearby, another member of the cooperative agrees. "We have so much hope in coffee," says Matilde Quispe de Quispe. "Finally, we're able to receive decent prices and our children are able to eat."

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